Equality and non-discrimination being fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, adopted by world leaders in 1945, gender equality is at the very heart of human rights. As women’s rights are human rights women are entitled to all human rights. Right to live free from violence, right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health right to right to education, right to own property, right to earn an equal wage and all other human rights must be ensured regardless of gender. However, millions of women around the world continue to experience discrimination in the enjoyment rights. Gender inequality underpins many problems which disproportionately affect women and girls, such as domestic and sexual violence, lower pay, lack of access to education. On 18 December 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The convention covers areas such as civil rights and the legal status of women, reproductive rights and many other rights to ensure elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
Maldives has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in July 1993. The Maldivian Constitution guarantees equality between men and women. Article 17 of the Constitution states that the right to rights and freedoms shall not be discriminated on the basis of gender. The Gender Equality Act (18/2016) complements the guarantee of gender equality in ensuring rights and opportunities. However, women continue to face many other challenges, including domestic violence, gender-based violence and many other challenges.